A third party (large donor, organization, etc) may agree that they will pay all of the “overhead costs” for a charity or project. Later potential donors can then be told that the full amount of their gift will go towards “program activities”. (However, defining “overhead” is tricky.)

Alternative tool name:

Tool variation:

Category: Incentives/gifts

Sub-category: Framed incentive

Relevant theories: Overhead aversion

Type of evidence: Field-exp-charity, Lab-charity

Evidence strength (ad hoc assessment): 7

Main findings

Using a lead donor funds to “cover overhead” increases donation incidence and amounts; more effective than match or seed.


Practical relevance

Not clear whether this is particularly relevant for EA. (Do these actually have more overhead? Are they percieved as much.) Maybe if people don't have to worry about overhead, they may focus more on effectiveness.

Use cases


Key papers

Secondary papers

Enter your comment. Wiki syntax is allowed:
J I᠎ G T M
  • tools/precover_overhead_costs.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/02/28 02:30
  • by david